Treatment and Prevention

Treatment and Prevention


Know your treatment goals


The treatment goals of atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) start with a proper diagnosis through an in-depth examination from a physician. The exam usually includes questions about your history and often an EKG or ECG. Some patients may need a thorough electrophysiology study.


Prevention and Risk Reduction


Although no one is able to absolutely guarantee that a stroke or a clot can be preventable, there are ways to reduce risks for developing these problems.

After a patient is diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, the ideal goals may include:

  • Restoring the heart to a normal rhythm (called rhythm control)
  • Reducing an overly high heart rate (called rate control)
  • Preventing blood clots (called prevention of thromboembolism such as stroke)
  • Managing risk factors for stroke
  • Preventing additional heart rhythm problems
  • Preventing heart failure


Getting Back on Beat


Avoiding atrial fibrillation and subsequently lowering your stroke risk can be as simple as foregoing your morning cup of coffee. In other words, some AFib cases are only as strong as their underlying cause. If hyperthyroidism is the cause of AFib, treating the thyroid condition may be enough to make AFib go away.

Doctors can use a variety of different medications to help control the heart rate during atrial fibrillation.

"These medications, such as beta blockers and calcium channel blockers, work on the AV node," says Dr. Andrea Russo of University of Pennsylvania Health System. "They slow the heart rate and may help improve symptoms. However, they do not 'cure' the rhythm abnormality, and patients still require medication to prevent strokes while remaining in atrial fibrillation."

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Recent Discussions From The Newly Diagnosed Forum
JohnnyTiger avatar

Hi everyone.  I was diagnosed with Paroxysmal Afib just over a month ago.  Episodes are now occuring about once a week and can last from a couple of hours to over 24 hours.  I'm physically fit and have been doing weight training and intense cardio most of my adult life.  Resting heart rate usually hovers around 57-58.   I eat well, am not a big drinker (weekends only), and have never smoked.  The episodes I've had are awful, my heartrate will bounce from 60 to 130 to 170 at the drop of a hat, and it's affected my performance at work and my quality of life.  My cardiologist has me on 10mg bisoprolol daily and 5mg Eliquis twice a day, I understand the importance of taking a blood thinner but the bisoprolol only seems to lower my HR at rest and does absolutely nothing during an AFib attack.  Supplements include Taurine, Ubiquinol, regular COQ10, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Vitamin K2.  

A couple of interesting points I've noted:

a.)  Attacks often come on when I'm lying down, relaxing on the couch.  

b.)  They are never triggered by food intake, alcohol, and are only seldom triggered by exercise

c.)  I have stopped a total of 3 attacks by jumping on my Assault Bike (basically an exercise bike with your upper body contributing) and doing 15 minutes of hard cardio at about 80% max effort.  I did this today as a matter of fact

d.)  Mild exercise (walking, yardwork, etc) does nothing to stop an attack

Anyway, just wanted to introduce myself and i look forward to learning more and forming a plan of action against this miserable condition

 

 

emeraldmezzo avatar

I'm a 67 year old female diagnosed a day ago. I'm on Eliquis and Cardizem (sp?). Will I ever live normally again? I get out of breath going to the mailbox or up one small flight of stairs? Will I ever walk a mile again? Or swim? Or vacuum my living room without shortness of breath? I feelike I'm 90.  I hate this and I'm frightened. I'm having a TEE test on Thursday. Any advice/support would be very much appreciated. 

winnifred55 avatar

Laying in bed on the morning of 11/30 I started getting a fast irregular heartbeat and was lightheaded, nauseated, and had chest tightness. After about an hour I called the doctor, who said to go to the ER. By the time I was able to get childcare and get to the hospital, it had resolved. They recommended following up with a cardiologist if I had further symptoms. 

Since then I've had frequent palpitations during the day and episodes that my fitbit has classified as afib every day or every other day lasting 5-10 minutes. Brought the PDFs of these to my first cardiology appointment and he diagnosed paroxysmal afib based on them and did an echo which came back normal. He put me on metropolol and said that after a few weeks of being on this, afib should go away and stay gone since I have no structural abnormalities. 

I've been on it for a week now, and still having a lot of palpitations. Slightly fewer afib episodes - only 3 in the last week, but they are lasting longer - closer to an hour. 

Has anyone ever had short term metropolol "cure" their afib?

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